As a young girl, I watched my grandmother struggle financially after my grandfather left her for a younger woman.
She never worked outside the home, which meant she had no assets, no savings and no retirement income of her own other than Social Security. Unfortunately, she had to go into a nursing home due to serious health complications. She died broke and penniless at the young age of sixty-seven.
Unfortunately, my grandmother’s situation is not all that unique. According to experts, living impoverished in retirement is a plight many baby boomer women will face.
“Compared to male retirees, female retirees will have lower wealth and incomes, higher poverty rates, and a larger share whose incomes are below 45 percent of the national average wage.”
–Barbara A. Butrica, Senior Research Associate, and Cori E. Uccello, Consultant Urban Institute
Pension income is a thing of the past, and Americans, for the most part, are not great at saving. Which means the generation of women approaching their sixties and seventies are counting on Social Security to be their primary source of retirement income.
“The fate of boomer women could be worse than their predecessors’, as this generation spend more, acquires more debt, and is less likely to have traditional pensions, spousal benefits, or retiree healthcare coverage.”
–Cindy Hounsell, President, Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement
Experts tell us that healthcare costs will be the biggest expense in retirement. Since women already face unique financial challenges in retirement, I’m extremely passionate about helping you secure the best Medicare healthcare coverage possible.
Eighty to 90% of all women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives.
~Nat’l Center for Women & Retirement Research
Women, Money & Retirement – The Numbers Don’t Lie
The following stats were taken from Professor David F. Babbel’s essay: “Lifetime Income for Women: A Financial Economist’s Perspective” (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)
- Older women are 50% more likely than older men to live in poverty. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- The poverty rate for people above age 75 is 33% higher than that of people age 65-74. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Approximately 44% of the elderly will ultimately require nursing home care. (Spillman and Lubitz, 2002)
- The average annual cost of institutional care in 2000 was $70,080 for a private room and $61,685 for a semi-private room. (Spillman and Lubitz, 2002) By 2007, the average cost had risen by an additional $5,000. (MetLife)
- Roughly 75% of the residents of nursing homes are women. (Spillman and Lubitz, 2002)
- The majority of the residents in nursing homes are widowed, functionally dependent females. (Spillman and Lubitz, 2002)
- About 72% of the residents required help in managing money. (Spillman and Lubitz, 2002)
- Women generally have much longer stays than men in nursing homes. (Spillman and Lubitz 2002)*
*One reason for this is that women are generally younger than their husbands and provide
compassionate home care for them in their declining years, delaying the time before
which they need to be cared for in a nursing home. Less than 10% of women, on the other
hand, have a companion by the time their health declines, and so they seek institutional care
at an earlier stage of their declining health. Ironically, in many cases the couple’s financial
reserves have already been expended on the husband’s care, leaving little for her.
While the above statistics are sobering indeed, it’s crucial that we as women face the facts and tackle the problem head-on.
Hence the need for access to quality, easy-to-understand financial and insurance education for women.
We need to take it upon ourselves to continually increase our financial literacy, engage in retirement planning and learn how to create our own financial security for our retirement years.